Drainage Law & Resources

About the Law

Minnesota's Drainage Law is applied throughout the state. It is also known as the "Drainage Code." It determines how privately-owned public ditches are managed.

The Drainage Code was initiated in the late 1800's, along with federal grants to ensure that the nation's swamps would be drained. The purpose of the law was to establish a process to oversee drainage management amount the ditch owners.

Chisago County follows state law as it relates to drainage.

Minnesota Public Drainage Manual

The Minnesota Public Drainage Manual (MPDM) is a guidance document for administration of drainage systems established and maintained in accordance with Minnesota Statutes Chapter 103E Drainage. The MPDM was first published in 1991 in a hard copy, three-ring binder. A legislative appropriation from the Clean Water Fund in 2014 enabled the MPDM to be updated and republished in 2016 in an online wiki format that greatly improves electronic access, search capabilities and ease of future updates. The MPDM has multiple audiences, including Chapter 103E drainage authorities, drainage engineers, county auditors, attorneys, drainage inspectors, landowners, regulatory agencies, and other interested entities. The MPDM is a guidance document, not rule or law. Additional information about the MPDM, including the update and maintenance process is available in the introduction to the document.

Additional Information

The Minnesota State Law for Drainage may be viewed online. If you have questions about Chisago County's public ditches, please contact Jeff Fertig, Wetland Specialist/Public Ditch Inspector by calling 651-213-8370 or Email Jeff Fertig. Maintenance and care of public ditches is handled by the Chisago County Public Works Department. To contact them regarding your drainage issues call 651-213-8700 or Email Public Works. Assessments, maintenance levies and records of ditch proceedings are handled by the Auditor-Treasurer's Office. You can contact them by calling 651-213-8500 or Email Auditor-Treasurer.